Individual blitz-and-go bullet blenders for making juices and smoothies are a huge hit in the health world. We've tested leading brands like Nutribullet and Vitamix.
Smoothie recipes are popular on BBC Good Food and for good reason – making your own at home saves money on buying expensive ready-mixed bottles. It’s also a quick-fix way to taking in fruit and veg nutrients.
The new world of petite personal blenders have a small kitchen footprint and come with highly-portable cups. When researching which smoothie blender to buy, bear in mind the frequency with which you’ll make smoothies. If it’ll be a daily thing for you, choose a machine that can be left out on your surface.
Fruit pulp can be a killer to wash up, so if you have a dishwasher it’s worth buying a blender with cups that are suitable. We tested 15 machines of varying prices and actually found that mid-range machines didn’t offer much in the way of value for money – cheap and cheerful machines are good for occasional smoothie-makers and people who might want to upgrade one day.
Fervent fans would be wise to consider investing in something over £100 that comes with a warranty, as regular use does put the blades and motor through considerable strain, especially if using things like beetroot or veg with hard stalks.
Nutribullet Pro 900 Series NBLP9 blender
Best all-round smoothie blender
Best bits: Attractive, sturdy, powerful and durable.
Features: 900W motor, 2 x blending cups with lids
Comments: With its slim body and metallic finish, this not only looks great on the counter but doesn’t take up much space either. It uses the simple twist and push design that Nutribullets are known for – just add ingredients to the cup, put the lid on, twist it onto the body, then push down to blend. This means there’s just one setting but it’s high powered, pulverising fruit, veg and ice to an incredibly smooth consistency in around 45 seconds, while suction pads on the base keep it steady. The cups are dishwasher-friendly making it super easy to clean, and the Good Food cookery team can attest to its durability.
VonShef UltraBlend Smoothie maker
Best mid-range smoothie blender
Best bits: Low price; simple design and easy to store.
Features: 1000W motor, 25,000 RPM speed, 1 x large 800ml cup, 1 x medium 500ml cup, 1 x spill-proof lid, 1 x sip & seal lid
Comments: You won’t need an instruction booklet for this simple but effective smoothie blender, which follows the popular twist and push ‘bullet’ model. While there’s only one setting, it’s high speed and with a 1000W motor, it’s powerful enough to blitz even tough ingredients quickly, resulting in a silky-smooth drink. Though fairly loud, it certainly wasn’t the loudest we tested and works so fast that noise is limited to a short time. Not only is this the one of the most lightweight, compact blenders we tried, perfect for easy storage, it’s also simple to clean, as the cups are dishwasher safe.
Sage SBL920BSS Super Q Food Blender
Best smoothie blender for gadget lovers
Best bits: Sleek look, multiple, easy-to-use functions, large size and durability.
Features: 2400W motor, large (2 litre) jug, 1 x 700ml cup with lid, spatula, tamper and recipe book. Multiple settings and speeds.
Comments: This may have a hefty price tag but we can see why. Although large and slightly bulky, this seriously sleek-looking silver blender is attractive and multi-functional enough that you’ll want to leave it out on the counter, and the generous 2 litre jug size makes it a great choice for families. Choose from a range of settings and speeds, including two smoothie-specific functions, then simply touch a button to watch the powerful machine blitz your ingredients for the exact time required for optimum results – that’s 50 seconds in the case of a smoothie. It can also crush ice, make frozen desserts and soups and comes with lots of extras including a recipe booklet, tamper and spatula for cramming in your ingredients, a jug, a cup and on top of that, it has a 10-year guarantee.
JML Nutri Blitzer
Best budget smoothie maker
Best bits: Easy to clean and set up, additional milling blade for grinding.
Features: 700W motor, 2 x 650ml cups, 1 x 900ml cup, plus lids, 2 blade choices.
Comments: Endorsed by Olympic rower James Cracknall, this bullet blitzed our mix to a lump-free smoothness that was verging on silky. Our testers were impressed with the sturdiness, how easy it was to clean and also the additional milling blade for grinding nuts and spices. The large cup makes enough for two servings and the screw-on lid means easy fridge storage. A little more expensive than some models on the market, we feel the extra money spent made a massive difference to the end result.
Best blowout smoothie maker
Best bits: A blow-out multi-tasker that will help you cut many kitchen corners and save on buying an additional full-size blender.
Features: 800-950W motor, 600ml to-go container, 1.2-litre container, hammermill and cutting blades.
Comments: This ‘personal blender’ is very expensive for a smoothie maker but you are also getting one of the best blenders on the market by simply attaching a separate jug. Smoothie-wise the machine was very easy to use and we liked the variable speeds the machine blitzes at. If you’re in the market for a blender and smoothie maker then this is definitely better than buying two separate machines.
What we looked for when testing smoothie makers:
The Good Food lump test: We placed several tough ingredients (half an apple, a banana, 20g ginger, 25g kale, 3 ice cubes, a tablespoon of oats and 2 pieces of frozen fruit, plus 400ml of water) in each blender for 1 minute. We then attempted to suck the smoothie through a straw. Anything that got stuck was marked down – the optimum result was a silky smooth mix with ease of flow.
Ease of use: Lots of people will move bullet blenders in and out of cupboards – we wanted machines that were intuitive and easy to set up.
Noise: We love smoothies in the morning, but our neighbours don’t tend to like being woken up by industrial-grade mechanical noise. While all smoothie bullets make some noise, machines that spluttered, made notably loud sounds or noises similar to a clapped out car were judged unfavourably.
Extra features: Machines with different cup options, additional blades and smart blending functions were marked up.
Cup quality: Say no to leaky cups! We gave carry cups a vigorous shake to ensure no liquid would escape and ruin the inside of your bag.
Smoothie recipes and tips
More advice on buying electronic kit
This review was last updated in January 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.